F/A-18s to conduct low level initial and pitch over RAAF Base Williamtown for 77 Squadron farewell

Hornets to fly low in training and farewell exercise DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
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DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DIAMOND STORM: Images from the dawn strike exercise on RAAF Base Williamtown on June 30. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TweetFacebookLive stream from Exercise Diamond Storm – June 30, 2017Post by Live stream from Exercise Diamond Storm – June 30, 2017.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has thrown Chinan “tainted blood” victims the ultimate lifeline

The UK decision that made a Lake Macquarie man cheer Finally: Charles MacKenzie has been fighting the n Government for a full inquiry into ‘s “tainted blood” scandal for more than two decades.
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Champion: Mr MacKenzie says a UK inquiry into “tainted blood” will have “massive” repercussions in .

Protests: Mr MacKenzie taking part in a protest in 2002 for a formal inquiry into the “tainted blood” scandal.

Inquiry: UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a “Hillsborough-style” inquiry into the UK’s “tainted blood” scandal.

TweetFacebookIt was the best birthday present she could have given me because this is massive for . This is huge. This is going to be a warts and all investigation of one of the UK’s greatest health scandals and they’ve only got one-third of the victims we had in .

“Tainted blood” survivor Charles MacKenzieIt is difficult to imagine the feelings of unfairness that people must feel at being infected by something like hepatitis C or HIV as a result of a totally unrelated treatment, and to each and every one of those people, I would like to say sorry on behalf of the government for something that should not have happened.

Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015The victims and their families who have suffered so much pain and hardship deserve answers as to how this could possibly have happened.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May

The Senate inquiry was told a screening test for hepatitis C was available from 1986, but onlyQueensland blood services used it.

It was not until February 1990 that a hepatitis Cscreening test was used in other n states.

Haemophilia Foundation (HFA) told the Senate inquiry it appeared “issues such as test sensitivity and specificity, cost and fears about reduced blood supply were considered more important than the seriousness of hepatitis”.

The n Red Cross Blood Service said the level of blood donations in the late 1980s was a “major concern”, and up to five per cent of donations might have been rejected if the screening test was applied.

The Senate inquiry heard Federal and state governments, health departments and blood services across knew some blood transfusion recipients would be infected with hepatitis C without the screen tests.

“The bloodservices were extremely aware there was a virus that was being transmitted via blood transfusions, but they chose to do nothing about it,” Mr MacKenzie said.

“So many of the cases were women who had blood transfusions after birth.”

Many were not aware they had been infected with hepatitis C until years later. Many suffered from serious and debilitating symptoms for long periods without knowing they had a serious viral condition.

The inquiry heard evidence from angry witnesses who had not been contacted by the n Red Cross Blood Service about their infections. Others expressed shock when they were advised by a letter from the Red Cross that they had hepatitis C.

“It was evening when I opened the letter and I couldn’t call (for help)until the next morning. I found it hard to believe this was something they would tell you by mail, or that they would tell you by mail and not include some information about the virus,” one “tainted blood” victim told the inquiry.

Otherstold how a hepatitis C diagnosis had made them outcasts in their own families because peoplebelieved they had contracted the virus through illicit drug use.

“My brother and sisters who are Catholics have shut all doors on me. I am an outcast. They don’t want to know,” one witness said.

“It is the little acts that occur within the family unit, that suddenly take on a more sinister meaning in the face of hepatitis Cinfection. Sharing razors, accidentally using someone’s toothbrush, your four year old putting a band-aid on your cut and kissing it better, the way you have done for him. You wonder at what point you may have compromised the safety and well being of those you care about the most.”

The Senate inquiry found there was evidence to suggest relevant authorities in could have instigated surrogate testing before 1990, but “based on the information available at the time, it was open to the relevant authorities to take the decisions they did”.

Mr MacKenzie said the “tainted blood” issue was “first and foremost, a human tragedy that has destroyed the lives of many men, women and children”.

“Suffering of the greatest magnitude is being endured by people whose only mistake was to place their faith in the managers of ’s blood supply,” he said.

Mr MacKenzie said the UK inquiry would expose how authorities failed individuals who received blood transfusions, and failed again by covering up.

“I’ve done my level best for the last three years to get figures on how many ns have been affected and contacted by our government, but the government refuses to respond.

“We have to ask the question –how is it that the UK, with less than a third of the victims we have in , recognise the need for a warts and all inquiry, but in we’re basically doing nothing.”

Port Stephen’s defamation case to test Macka’s teflon talents

STAYING POWER: Port Stephens Mayor Bruce MacKenzie has survived five decades of political controversy and always prided himself on having thick skin.THE day before running an investigative serieson how Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie and his “Liberal-leaning” mates used an intricate web of preference deals to take control of the last local government election, I phoned the controversial mayor.
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It was a simple housekeeping call.

I wanted to let him knowmy colleague, Michael McGowan, and Ihad finished digging.

We were publishing tomorrow and I was checking to see if he had anything further to add about revelations that he’d used acalculated numbers game, never seen on such a scale in Hunter local government elections,to cement his leadership and help deliver seven of 10 council seats, better known as a solid voting majority.

The call stayed a simple one.

What followed went broadly like this:

Me: “You know we’re running the story tomorrow, there’s accusations that you used dummy candidates, just wanted to let you know and see if there was anything more you had to say.”

Bruce: “You can say anything you like about me, Donna. People can say anything they like about me. I’ve been in this game long enough to have thick skin. You know me, I’m happy to cop it on the chin, I’ve been doing it for years. Nothing bothers me.”

It’s a conversation that we’d had numerous times over many years. There were no surprises.

The high-profile mayorhas always taken pride in having what himself,friends and foes alike describe as “thick skin”.

As a colossus of Port Stephens politics for 50 years and larger-than-life figure in business, Cr MacKenzie is used to throwing his weight around and taking hits from opponents.

Below average height and approaching 80, he’s no shrinking violet. A legend in Port Stephens for his razor put-downs andunashamed propensity to bend the rules, his popularity has withstood decades of controversy.

He proudly holds the dubious honour of being the first, then the second, local councillor in NSW suspended by a pecuniary interest tribunal.

“You totally have to have thick skin,” he was quoted in this newspaper as saying in December 2012. “I ain’t scared of upsetting people.”

Theman of a thousand headlines has appeared under them all, “Ballsy Bruce”, “No regrets or apologies”and “Bruce Almighty”.

No surprises there.

But on Thursday, Macka the millionaire mayor -the manmost people either love or love to hate -surprised me.

Joanne McCarthy revealed in a front-page story that he is suing two people for defamation over a Facebook post. That’s right, a Facebook post.

The post, made by Port Stephens retail assistant Katrina Harvey, alleged he’d touched two women on the buttocks at a Nelson Bay business awards night.

Cr MacKenzie has denied touching the women and describedthe allegation as“just laughable”.

Port Stephens Council mayoral hopeful and Labor candidate Des Maslen is also being sued by Cr MacKenzie after re-posting Ms Harvey’s post.

Mr Maslen and Ms Harveyare defending the matter.

The question I was left with after reading about the case is:“What’s changed, Bruce?”

Perhaps that curious quality that has made youlike teflon for so many years is starting to wear off.

Prostate cancer treatment options abound in the Hunter. Take a minute to research them.

Dr Jarad Martin.A HUNTER radiation specialist is urging prostate cancer patients to consider all treatment options before rushing into surgery.
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Dr JaradMartin, a radiation oncologist and director of research at the Calvary Mater Newcastle, said the panic that could follow aprostate cancer diagnosis could leadto knee-jerk decisions regarding treatment.

But he hoped to encouragepatients to “hit the pause button” to give themselves time to make an informed decision that they would be comfortable with long term.

“When you are operating under a bit of stress with a cancer diagnosis, it can be hard to absorb and process information,” Dr Martin said.

“When they get the news they have prostate cancer, they can go into a bit of a tail spin about what to do next.

“There are multiple options that may be appropriate for them, but the only way they can really understand what is going to be the right option for them is to be guided through a decision making process.”

Dr Martin saidnational and international guidelines recommendedmen take the opportunity to meet with a couple of clinicians–ideally an expertin radiotherapy, as well as an expert in surgery –toget unbiased information from both sources.

“Alot of clinicianshave a natural bias to what they are experienced in, and a lot of surgeons are no different, and see surgery as being a great option,” Dr Martin said.

“Radiotherapy specialists also have our own biases too. So the GP also becomes a useful umpire to help guys isolate what the key factors are to help them make a decision they are comfortable with.”

DrMartin said the Hunter was home to “excellent” surgeons and radiotherapists, both publicly and privately.

Surgery had a higher risk of “knocking out” sexual function, while radiotherapy could cause bowel and bladder problems.

“Whatever they do can haveramifications, probablyfor the rest of their lives, so it isimportant they make an informed decision before they push the ‘go’ button,” Dr Martin said.

Burwood Inn at Merewether’s steak night is the best night

Burwood steak night’s the best night HITS THE MARK: The ribeye steak, and chicken pate with accompaniments.
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The Burwood Inn: Home to The Restaurant at The Burwood and some pretty fine steaks. It’s in Berner Street, Merewether.

SOFT GLOW: The rustic interior of ‘The Inn’s’ dining space.

TweetFacebookREVIEWWhen Weekender last reviewed the dining facilities at The Burwood Inn, we staked our claim and declared that The Burwood served the best steaks in Newcastle. That was in 2015, and the world has changed a lot since then.

Donald Trump didn’t have access to the nuclear codes and the foreshore had 170 more trees than it does now. But, what does this have to do with the price of steak? Not a lot. What most intrigued us was whether ‘The Inn’ could still lay claim to the title of ‘best steak in Newcastle’. Let’s find out …

Saturday night is as good a night as any to put away a steak. In fact, you might say it’s the best night. After a few short detours around the rabbit warren that is Merewether (trying to find a park), my dining associate and I wandered into the warm buzz and hum of The Burwood Inn.

Décor wise, not much has changed, apart from, what I believe to be, the addition of an empty Young Henry’s growler on a shelf at the side of the restaurant. It’s dimly lit and furnished with wooden tables and chairs and a couple of long and comfy bench seats at either end of the dining space.Despite the winter chill, the courtyard outside looks as cosy as it is inside, courtesy of a couple of fire-pits. We sit inside and are given menuswith a welcoming smile.

SOFT GLOW: The rustic interior of ‘The Inn’s’ dining space.

Obviously, there’s an assortment of steaks, and I’ll get to them, but did you know The Burwood makes pizzas? It’s true; margherita, wild mushroom, jerk chicken and chilli prawns, and there were plenty being slung about the place this night. The starters sound good too; warm olives, salt and pepper squid, chicken liver paté, dumplings, and mac and cheese croquettes. ‘Not steak’ items includeconfit pork belly served with a black eyed pea cassoulet, apple chutney, and roast eschallots (GF), red lentil dahl with yoghurt raita, pappadums and basmati rice.My dining associate and I order the chicken liver to start, followed by 400 grams of Northern NSW rib-eye on the bone, and USA-style pork ribs, both served with chips and greens.

For drinks, make your way to the old brick bar. In the pub, on the other side, folks are throwing back craft beer schooners and a few old favourites, mixers and wine. The wine list is sound enough and there a few excellent drops. After a schooner of Old and a well-mixed G&T, we opened a 2015 Reserve Shiraz by Usher Tinkler Wines; a bloody good wine from a bloody wet year. The bright acids and silky tannins made best mates with my ‘Fairlight’ rib-eye.

The Burwood Inn: Home to The Restaurant at The Burwood and some pretty fine steaks. It’s in Berner Street, Merewether.

The chicken liver paté is accompanied by cornichons, a couple of leaves of bitter radicchio, sweet onion jam and crispy wafers of sourdough croutes. It’s super smooth, rich and creamy in all the right places, while the supports revive and refresh. The pork ribs land as a full-rack-mess of sticky brown glazed goodness, sprinkled with chopped parsley. The meat oozes off the bone, onto the fork and into our mouths. It’s an indulgent experience only sticky ribs can provide.

Now, regarding the 400 gram ‘Fairlight’ rib-eye, on the bone, served on a green bed of crispy, well-seasoned beans, a side of thick and crunchy chips, and a pot of Port jus for drizzling. The blackened char marks were there, the meat was pink and juicy in the middle, as requested, and the flavours melded in delicious harmony with the savoury fruit spectrum of the Hunter red. But, despite hitting all the marks, this steakdidn’t make me feel the way I did the first time. Maybe my expectations were too high?

It’ll never be as good as that very first time.I think old Rod got it right when he sang, ‘the first cut is the deepest’.

HITS THE MARK: The ribeye steak, and chicken pate with accompaniments.

QUICK BITEWhat: The Restaurant at The BurwoodWhere: 77 Berner St, Merewether(burwood苏州夜总会招聘.au)Owners: Julianne and Ty BurfordDrinks: Good tap and bottled beers, decent wine list, soft drinksHours: Lunch and dinner 7 daysVegetarian: YesBottom Line: $170 for two, incl. drinksWheelchair Access: YesDo Try: Chicken liver paté, pork ribs

Lamb vows to kick on after tough lesson

HIS inexperience proved costly in Newcastle’s loss toCanterbury last weekend, but Knights five-eighthBrock Lamb showed maturity beyond his yearson Wednesdayby fronting the media and vowing to make amends.
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MOVING FORWARD: Newcastle Knights five-eighth Brock Lamb is determined to put Sunday’s faux pas against Canterbury behind him and focus on this week’s clash with Brisbane. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

The 20-year-old said he harboured no lingering doubts afterSunday’s shattering20-18 defeat and would beready to go against Brisbane atMcDonald Jones Stadiumon Saturday.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Brock Lamb working on his kicking game at training. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

A fifth-tackle kick by Lamb in the 78thminute of the Bulldogs match allowed Moses Mbye to score the game-breaking try, butthe Maitland-born playmakersaidhe’s learned from the crucial mistake and hopes to prove it wasa one-off.

“Obviously it hurts,” Lamb said. “I want to see the fans happy and I want to see the boys celebrating a win.

BROCK LAMB

“I had a million things going through my mind. I guess I’ve just got to back the first one. I probably should have just kicked into touch straight across in front of me.

“It did play a part in our loss that kick of mine, but in saying that I’ve got another chance this weekend to turn it around.”

Lamb had a chance to makeup for theerror when he took a penalty kick after full-time,which could have forcedgolden-point extra time, butshanked the shotwell wide of the posts.

“That’s the sort of kick you want,” Lamb said.

“Unfortunately I just kicked a bit of the ground there and didn’t get the right kick away. I’ll learn from that and everyone has them in their careers, so I’m glad to get it over and done with and hopefully I can move forward.”

Lamb has been a mainstay in the Newcastle starting side this season, making 15 appearances in the halves.

He was dropped for the Wests Tigers match in round 17 and sent back to the Intrust Super Premiership, but viewed the game as his reserve-grade “debut” and was reinstated for the Bulldogs clash.

Knights players have rallied around the West Maitland junior this week and coach Nathan Brown put his faith in the 20-year-old on Tuesday, naming an unchanged line-up except for the inclusion of Queensland centre Dane Gagai.

Brisbane will be without regular backliners Corey Oates and Darius Boyd, who will miss the game through injury.

In their absence,Jamayne Isaako will debut on one wing and six-game rookie Jonus Pearson will play on the opposite flank.

The inexperienced edges will likely be targeted by the Knights.

“I just need to try and get my long kicking game on-point and test them out in the air a fair bit,” Lamb said.

“They’re all pretty strong ball carriers and they’re really good on their feet, so they’re going to be hard to handle.”

Port Stephens Council approves six storey units on the corner of Donald and Church streets

PLANS APPROVED: Sydney developer Silvano Frassetto’s plans for 17 units, six storeys high, at 65-67 Donald Street, have been on public exhibition. Artwork: SuppliedA second apartment project has got the seal of approval for Nelson Bay in as many months.
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Port Stephens Council unanimously approved plans on Tuesday night for the 17 unit, six storey project at 65-67 Donald Street, Nelson Bay.

It followed the approval of the Ascent apartments in May for Church Street site, which at 32 metres high upset some.

“[Donald Street] is a much more attractive looking design than [Aspect] a block or two back,” Cr John Nell said.

“It shows we don’t need to go higher so the argument we need to go higher to get a better design and for developers to make money doesn’t stack up.”

Cr John Morello welcomed the development.

“We really need to get people living in the CBD and this is a great start,” he said.

“It’s pleasing that this has a good mixture of one and two bedroom units to suit buyers.”

Acting mayor Chris Doohan said the apartments were the start of exciting times ahead.

“We’ve been asked by residents and the [Tomaree] Business Chamber to revitalise the town centre and this is the perfect opportunity.”

The Donald Street project is the work of Nelson Bay Developments director Silvano Frassetto.

Mr Frassetto told the Examiner in January that he had bought 65-67 Donald Street in 2007, just months before the Global Financial Crisis.

“We’ve owned the property for a while but we feel the time is right,” he said.

“There’s a fair bit of optimism in Nelson Bay now.”

Mr Frassetto said his apartments would help cater to that demand particularly for sea changers.

“For Sydney retirees their property values have gone up so they have the equity in their home to relocate into an apartment like these and still have money left over,” he said.

Work to start ‘within weeks’ on Church Street

Apartment plans show confidence in CBD

Climate right for apartments

A hunger to help: Aussie Care discount food store prepares for Maitland CBD reopening

FIGHTING HUNGER: Marli Accommodation Services president Liz Berger (right) with volunteers Steve and Sharyn Bone and Linda Campbell. Photo: Marina Neil. Discount food store Aussie Care will soon be back on its feet, witha rebirth in the Maitland CBD slated forlater this month.
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It means Maitland residents experiencing a tough time will still be able to access food and support – something that appeared at risk when the organisation went into administration earlier this year at their Thornton site.

But the crew from Marli Accommodation Services swooped in, buying the business and setting it up in a new premises at 359 High Street.

Marli Accommodation Services presidentLiz Berger is confidentthe new CBD location will greatly increase accessibility for the people who need it most.

“We totally think it will be hugely successful in the Maitland CBD,”Ms Berger said.

“Not everyone has a car, but now people can come here via bus or train.

“It’ll make it a lot easier for them.”

Ms Berger said purchasing the company ensured it would continue to be able to help the many families and individualsin Maitland who relied on it.

“The main thing we wanted was to rescue it from disappearing,” she said.

“We know how many people really depend on it.”

While the food bank will soon be up and running again, the new owners have a much grander vision for their new site, which stretches across two floors on High Street.

Ms Berger said that upstairs is in the midst of being fitted out as an office area, where residents will be able to book out a desk and a computer for the day which they can then use to produce resumes and other documents.

That’s not all though,with plans underway for free exercise and yoga areas as well as space forparenting programs and a legal aid service, withmore services tobe added in time.

Ms Berger said it was about making the most of their new CBD location.

“It’s about giving people access to all these services they might not have at home, so they can do as much as possible here,” she said.

“We think it’ll be really successful.”

The shop is expected to officially open on July 28.

Magpies could help stop rainbow lorikeets eating grapes at Hunter vineyards

Bird Wars: magpies versus rainbow lorikeets at Hunter vineyards | POLL, PHOTOS TweetFacebookHerald wine writer John Lewis told Topics that “magpies may hold an answer”.
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John reported back in January that huge flocks of birds were taking their toll on the 2017 Hunter Valley wine harvest.

“At the Wandin Valley vineyard in Lovedale, rainbow lorikeets caused the loss of several tonnes of chardonnay grapes that were ready for picking,” the story said.

Wandin Valley winemaking consultant PJ Charteris also reported massive bird strikes on vineyards. He had never seen the nectar-loving rainbow lorikeets in such numbers before.

De Iuliis chief winemaker Michael De Iuliis said he had to pick chardonnay in a Lovedale Road vineyard at Keinbah early because it was being “hammered” by rainbow lorikeets.

Bruce Tyrrellsaid that crows, starlings and rainbow lorikeets had munched ongrapes at his vineyards.

Vignerons had used netting to protect vines, but perhaps they should try perches.

Rebecca Peisley, ofCharles Sturt University, said the perches installed in Victoria proved to be popular with magpies.

“Cameras attached to the platforms recorded almost 40,000 magpie visits to the 12 perches over four months,” she told the science website.

The magpies’ presence meant fewer grape-eating birds in the area.

Sections of the vineyard without perches suffered damage to 9 per cent ofgrapes, on average, compared to 4 per cent in sections with perches.

“I would definitely recommend the perches because with a very small investment, we saw a pretty good reduction in grape damage,” Peisley said.

A Yellow SubmarineWe couldn’t help but notice a letter to the editor from New Lambton’s Ian Roach.

What was the meaning of the Beatles song Yellow Submarine?

Ian was responding to a Herald article on Saturday that referenced the Beatles song, Yellow Submarine.

Ian said aneighbour, who came from Liverpool, once told him that yellow submarine was slang for an asylum for the insane.

Topics had a squiz at the Urban Dictionary, which said a yellow submarine was a nickname for a “marijuanajoint”.

Paul McCartney said of the song: “It’s a happy place, that’s all. You know, it was just… we were trying to write a children’s song. That was the basic idea. And there’s nothing more to be read into it than there is in the lyrics of any children’s song”.

On another occasion,McCartney said: “People say, ‘Yellow Submarine?What’s the significance?What’s behind it?’ Nothing!I knew it would get connotations, but it was just a children’s song.”

Steve Turner wrote in his book, A Hard Day’s Write that: “The rumour quickly spread that the yellow submarine was a veiled reference to drugs.In New York, Nembutal capsules started to be known as ‘yellow submarines’. Paul denied the allegations.”

Music journalist Peter Doggett probably got it rightwhen he said the song became a “kind ofRorschach testfor radical minds”.

Aussies OverseasWe heard a story the other day about a Newcastle bloke at the Glastonbury music festival in the UK.

The bloke was wearing some sort of Knights paraphernalia, which sparked an excited reaction from a security guard at the festival.

This reminded us about the time we lived in England. We’re not really into rugby league, but we found ourselves looking for the scores from back home to help ease a bit of homesickness.

Then one night at a club in Cornwall, we heard a fellow Aussie’s voice at the bar. It was the sweetest thing we’d heard in sometime.

We’d love to hearyour stories of Aussies overseas – [email protected]成都夜总会招聘.au.

Swear in front of me, but don’t call me ‘darl’: A lesson in respect

Assuming women need protection from swear words is not respect. Photo: StocksyI was watching a new show on the Crime & Investigation channel the other day (shh, don’t tell anyone). It was calledCourt Justice: Sydney –afly on the wall seriesabout the Downing Centre Magistrates courts.
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Jane Caro.

But it wasn’t the effect of the law on real people’s lives that caught my attention, fascinating though that was. It was an exchange between Magistrate Jacqueline Milledge (what a woman she is) and a defendant that literally stopped me in my tracks.

The defendant was in the witness box and his lawyer was asking him questions in the usual fashion. The defendant was charged with affray but he was pleading (quite reasonably) self-defence. The defendant was a professional boxer who had gone to the aid of a friend who was being viciously attacked. In the witness box, he was asked exactly what the attacker had said to him.

Defendant: (Looking at Magistrate Milledge) Can I say it?

Milledge: Yeah, please.

Defendant: You sure?

Milledge: Yeah, we won’t faint I promise you.

Defendant: “You f—ing c—“

Milledge: Heard that before.

Defendant: Sorry darl.

Milledge: (Quickly) But don’t call me darl. That’s where we fall out with each other.

And a little later…

Milledge: Don’t feel worried about using language, but don’t call me darl.

Defendant: I apologise, Your Honour.

Milledge: Now that’s a good one (she meant the honorific).

What I loved about this exchange is how clearly it illustrates the difference between respecting women and protecting them. A lot of people, particularly some men, claim to love women – and I have no doubt that they genuinely feel that they do.

However, it’s the way they demonstrate that love that can be a problem. The boxer had been taught not to use bad language in front of women, to protect them from it, in fact. I get that. But he unintentionally revealed the worm in the protective apple when he compounded the felony by calling Milledge “darl”.

The problem with the urge to protect is you only do it to people you see as less capable than you are. “Darl’ is a diminutive – literally, when used to address someone you do not know, diminishing. It’s the sort of language we use to children, especially little girls.

Yet I don’t doubt that the boxer saw it as his duty, as gallantry even, to protect women from the rough and tumble of real life. This attitude is a direct result of theMadonna/whore dichotomythat has bedevilled women for millennia.

Under that reductive view, a good and respectable woman is pure and unsullied, even delicate and fragile, so she must be protected from reality. Jackie Milledge as a magistrate was a “good” woman, therefore in need of protection.

The boxer clearly did not want to offend Milledge; on the contrary, he was tying himself in knots to be polite. And with good reason, she could send him to jail.

He simply did not know how to treat a woman in such a position of authority with respect.

This urge to protect and venerate is sometimes called benevolent sexism. And while it might be – on one level – kindly meant, it is belittling and controlling.

When the boxer, who was clearly a nice guy, called Milledge “darl”, he was patronising her. He would not have treated a male magistrate in the same way. He might have called a male magistrate “mate” (though I doubt it) but “mate” is equal to equal, peer to peer and doesn’t assume a false intimacy.

“Darl”, “love”, “sweetie”, “dear” (I get a lot of that now I’m older) all associate women with love – with the personal – not with public and professional authority.

These terms of endearment overstep a boundary between the professional and the personal. The boxer meant well. He may even have seen the exchange as respectful, but Milledge knew that it wasn’t and, to her credit, was quick to correct him.

She didn’t want or need his protection. She wanted and demanded his respect. She was not his darling. She was Your Honour.

(By the way, she also acquitted him.)

In a microcosm, I felt that this exchange beautifully summed up the essence of the feminist struggle. Which, simply put, is the desire of one half of the human race to be taken seriously by the other half.

Hugh Mackay in his seminal bookWhat Makes Us Tick? The Ten Desires That Drive Us(2010) says he lists the desires in no particular order except for the first one – which is the most important. It is the desire to be taken seriously.

Women don’t want to be your pet, your love or your darling. They don’t want to be trivialised, indulged or protected. They might accept it, if it’s the best they are going to get, but what they want is the same as what you want: to be taken seriously, to be respected, to be honoured as an equal and fully autonomous fellow adult.

It’s not a lot to ask. It’s not even hard to do. Just don’t call me darl.